"KICKING FISH TAIL SINCE 1956"
Miss Judy Charters
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA 31410
912 897 4921
912 897 3460 FAX
January 28, 2002
I spent some time in the inshore waters of our area this past week and it was wonderful. However, at the particular time that I picked to go fishing the fish weren't biting, but I still had a wonderful time just trying. It's that time of the year when you might find yourself doing more fishing/boat riding than catching. However the good side to all of this is that it was just great getting out on the water.
I took my small boat and was able to cover a lot of territory in a short period of time. It was great moving around at a speed of over 22 knots. I visited some of my secret inshore spots that I know will be "hotspots" in a few weeks or so. I also checked the near shore areas, which also will be holding lots of fish as soon as the water temperature makes that upward swing. It's funny what you think you know about a fishing spot, but when you haven't visited it in a long time things do change. I found myself not so sure exactly where the spot was even thought according to my Loran I was right on top of it. I hadn't visited these spots for over 20 years so therefore the bottom structure had changed quite a bit making me question not only the navigation device I was using, but myself. The good news is that I found all of the spots, but only after I stepped outside of the box and looked at what was left uncovered. As my father use to tell me, "You move quickly on the surface while the bottom is stationery." However, I must have stopped listening when he explained to me how quickly bottom designs can change.
As I have been reporting the bottom fish at the artificial reefs that are located in less than 50 feet aren't as plentiful as they were. However, all you have to do is to move out to the deeper artificial reefs and you can catch all you want. Don't worry as the water temperature warms a bit the fish will return to their normal spots before they really disappear for the summer to the deeper water.
The Savannah Snapper Banks is still the hot topic for bottom fishing. In fact the snapper bite has been good the whole season and doesn't look like it's going to change. Along with this bite come all types of snapper. We have been catching vermilion, porgy, and genuine red snapper. All of these fish are from the same family, but are usually caught while feeding at different depths. The larger vermilion snapper feed over the smaller ones. So therefore to target this fish you will need to situate your bait into their holding pattern, which is usually 4 to 10 feet above the ocean floor. The best bait for these fish is small pieces of cut squid, squid heads, and fillet vermilion. They are great in the bait-stealing department. So therefore once you get to the strike zone get ready to set that hook. You must continue setting the hook until you make a hook up or until the nibbling stops. When the nibbling stops this usually means that you are out of bait. Now is the time to reload your hooks, resituate the boat, and give it another try.
There are three types of porgy that we catch in our area. We catch the red porgy, white bone porgy, and the knobbed porgy. All of these fish have a small mouth openings, but believe me their mouths are full of sharp teeth. They basically jab at the bait until they get what they are after. Hopefully it's your hook. These fish are also a member of the Professional Bait Stealers Association. You might catch a red or knobbed porgy anywhere that you catch vermilion. They often feed at the same time, which is mostly during a slack tide. However, the white bone porgy seems to feed separate from the others. The bite pattern for the white bone is a little different. In fact it's opposite. The white bone usually starts feeding when the others have stopped. Upon arriving at a new spot and I start catching them I know the other fish have just stopped their feeding frenzy or they are going to start soon. The one thing for sure is that the others are not feeding at that particular time. This information is straight from your fish psychiatrist.
The genuine red snapper is the fish that everyone wants to catch. Red snapper, as well as all fish, come in different sizes. As normal, they are born and then they have a growth pattern, which is to get bigger. Genuine red snapper have labels for their stage of growth. The smallest ones that we catch are called "peanut reds." Peanuts are usually not over 14 inches. The medium size red snappers that we catch are called "juvenile reds." This fish is between 14 and 19 3/4 inches, but you still can't keep it. The genuine red snapper must be at least 20 inches to go into you fish cooler. All of the snapper fewer than 20 inches are considered practice fish and you must release unharmed. The snapper just over 20 inches are called "keepers." Now for the biggest and best of them all is the "Sow Snapper." This fish is over 30 inches and over 25 pounds! There is a secret that I would like to share with you in regard to one of red snappers feeding habit. They always look for their intended meal while they are cruising up off the bottom. They don't usually feed while they are hovering on the bottom. So therefore your bait offering must be placed between hovering and cruising! Good Luck!
The bottom fishing is great in 150 to 200 feet. Please let me know if you go!
"Little Miss Judy's Believe it or Not"
I love writing about what we used for bait when we were fishing during the fifties. A lot of fishermen might say, "not much has changed," but that's not true. In fact there is this particular live bait that we used back during this time that is considered a nuisance fish in the new fishing arena. It's the poor misunderstood "Lizard fish," which is also known at this time as a "reef runner." That's not what we called it in the fifties; it was called a "cigar fish." Not to be confused with "cigar minnows." As I have written in the past, we didn't even know what a cigar minnow was during that time. At any rate the cigar fish then was the best bait I have ever seen to use to catch a smoker king mackerel.
I wish I had a picture of my father's face when someone would catch one. In fact you would know ahead of time due to the fact that the customers all would be screaming, "what kind of fish is this?" My father's reply would always be, "it's a cigar fish and I am going to turn it into a smoker king mackerel!" He usually did just that! My father introduced me to the cigar fish so therefore I still call it that, but I'm not sure where he got the name. After some thought and through the eyes of a six year old I came up with this conclusion. Since this bait was shaped like a cigar and basically the same color I figured Daddy named it after the big King Edward that he always smoked. Until I thought about it a little longer, maybe "smoker kings do indeed smoke!"
Sea ya later,
Come see us at the Atlanta Hunting & Fishing Expo Feb 1,2,& 3, 2002